Taste of Eternity

May 7th, 2017

David Sorn



When you get a taste of eternity, you can hope through all things.



Browse Archives of all Past Renovation Church Messages




TRANSCRIPT


INTRODUCTION

Evening. David Sorn. Lead Pastor at Renovation Church. 

Let me start by asking you a question: Where do you think we usually find hope?  

When we hear the word hope, we tend to think of positive emotions, and so we often want to connect hope to positive situations. 

And yet, hope is often found, not on the mountain, but in the valley. 

I mean think about this: Why do you need hope in the first place? 

Think about this in even some really surface-y ways: 

If I’m watching the NBA or NHL playoffs, and my team is winning the series 3-0, I don’t say, “But I have hope.”  

If my team is down 3 games to 0, I say, “There’s still hope!” 

So where is hope most often found? 

It’s when I’m in the dark…and I see a small light…and I can say, “I have hope” 

And so I want to teach you a principle this morning that you won’t hear on your regular morning talk shows, or you won’t read about in the typical blogs that are shared all over social media. 

But it’s a principle that’s found in the Bible…and one that I think you’ll find helpful



SUFFERING PRODUCES HOPE

(Page 914) 

(Renovation App) 

This principle is found in a many places in the Bible, but we’re going to study it today in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans

(Romans 5:1-5) - NIV

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There are really TWO different kinds of hope that Paul is talking about in this passage: 

The first is “the hope of the glory of God” 

The second is that “suffering can produce hope” 

We’re actually going to work backwards on this passage and start with the idea that suffering can produce hope. 

Which again, is not a common blog topic in today’s Twitterverse.  

What does God mean by this when He inspires Paul to write this? 

Paul says that our sufferings produce perseverance, perseverance leads to character, which all eventually leads to HOPE. 

And yet, so often, that’s not how the cycle works at all. 

So is the Bible wrong? 

Because for a lot of people when they suffer, the last thing it leads to is perseverance, or character building, or hope. 

You know people like this…

Their family member dies to cancer, they lose their job…again, they get chronic pain….

And what their suffering actually leads to is: short-temperedness and irritability, which leads to the erosion of their character…and the loss of hope.  

That’s often how the cycle works. 

So why then, is Paul saying the opposite? 

Well, context really matters when you study the Bible. 

He starts off in verse 1 (look at it if you have it in front of you), and he’s talking about Christians who have been saved by their faith in Jesus Christ. 

Christians who have the Holy Spirit working within them

He’s saying that when you have God in your life, and you’re pressing into Him, that suffering… ought to produce something totally surprising in your life: hope.    

Think about how this works. 

Are you more likely to pray to God when life is easy or hard? 

Hard. It’s in our suffering that many of us are forced to finally rely on God…to cry out to Him.  

And therefore, it’s in our suffering, that many of us meet him. 

It probably wouldn’t surprise most of us to meet Him on the mountain, but God’s presence, in our valleys, is what often speaks to our hearts so deeply  

And it’s the meeting Him there, and being comforted by Him there, that gives us the perseverance (as Paul writes) to go on. 

Which then shapes our character to better handle it next time. 

And then in turn…produces the hope…that no matter what may come our way, we have HOPE that God is with us…and He’ll help carry us through!

I’ve been in a season of my life the past 2 years or so, where I have been devouring Christian biographies. 

I just love to read about people in history who surrendered so much of their lives to Jesus

So much of American Christianity has become luke-warm. 

God, to many Americans, is not much more powerful than Siri. 

He gives us a few directions and a few tips when we need Him, but otherwise we leave Him alone. 

One of the people I read about in the last year or so was the famous missionary, Amy Carmichael. 

She was an incredible Irish missionary in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who moved to India and told many, many people about Jesus. 

But perhaps what she is most famous for, is the rescue mission she began. 

She courageously rescued over 1,000 young Indian girls and boys from Hindu temple prostitution. 

These young children were often sold by their starving parents, and then used in the name of “religion” 

Religions aren’t all the same, with just different names for God…and Amy made sure that people understood that Jesus…would never stand for such a thing…but values every life. 

And so she founded the Dohnavuer Fellowship…a home for young children rescued from prostitution.  

And when you read the story of Amy Carmichael’s life, one of the things that jumps off the pages is that this woman had boundless energy. 

Even when she was 19, she had so much energy for Christ, she started a ministry to the sawmill girls of her town (at 19!), which soon had 500 women coming to hear about Jesus. 

In India, she would wear local Indian clothing, dye her skin dark by applying coffee to it, and often would walk miles and miles in the hot Sunday on India’s dusty roads…just to rescue one child. 

On top of it all, she started writing books, that were devoured by the people back home in Ireland and England. 

She was constantly starting foundations, and more homes, and more books and more and more…

And then, one day, in 1931, she started the day by praying, “Do anything Lord that will fit me to serve you.” 

That afternoon, she went to visit the site of yet another house they had recently secured to house more of the children they had rescued…

As she was walking around, she accidentally stumbled into a pit where the workers had been digging. 

Her injuries were significant, and she spent the vast majority of the last 20 years of her life…bedridden. 

The woman with boundless energy…resigned to lying in bed…staring at the ceiling…for 20 years. 

And as you read her story, you feel for her.  

And yet, as she fights past her real everyday frustrations, she dares to keep hoping…to keep pressing on. 

And she decides to press even more into writing. 

And she writes 16…16 incredible books…from her bed. 

Books that inspired countless numbers of people to take to the mission field and for many, were the catalyst that opened the world’s eyes to the rescuing of children…some 80 or so years ago. 

And for 20 years, basically confined to one room, she keeps hoping in God. 

Keeps finding little ways to devote more of her mind to Him

Keeps finding little ways to find joyful expectation for what He’s doing and what He will do when she meets him face to face, and she can walk once more! 

It’s inspiring to read, but when we read of it, unless we’ve walked through comparable suffering, I think many of us think, “But how could you be hopeful in that?” 

How could that sort of suffering actually produce more and more hope for God like the Bible says? 

But this is indeed one of God’s most common cycles of Christian growth for your life. 

Suffering, leads to perseverance, which leads to character, which leads to HOPE. 

When you can discover, that even in the darkness, God is still there for you…it’ll give you the hope to keep going.  

Speaking of this idea to keep going…

For those of you that are completing the 3-week challenge today, keep it going! 

This was the challenge, “If God is truly real, He’ll let hope start to move in your heart.” 

If that’s happening, keep coming, keep pursuing Him!

Next week, we’re starting a brand-new series called, “Forgotten Identity” 

And we’re going to talk about how so many of us pursue things like greed and jealously and all of these things that weigh us down, simply because we don’t understand our true identity in Christ. 

And if we knew who we are in Christ…God could do so much more in our hearts! 

Also next week, we will be rolling out all of our sign-ups for our summer classes here at Renovation where you can learn more about the Bible. 

So be here. 



THE TASTE OF ETERNITY…FOR THIS LIFE

I want to get back to this idea of how hope is born out of suffering

There is more we can flesh out here. 

If you’re in a hard place, and you sense God’s presence with you…

It’s often a foretaste of what He’ll do in the future. 

I’m sure by now, many of you, at one point or another have seen at least one episode of the TV Show Survivor. 

Believe it or not, it’s been on TV for 17 years and is in its 34th season.   

The contestants are out there for 39 days (if they last the whole way) and often encounter grueling conditions with little or no food…many of them lose an extraordinary amount of weight in just over a month. 

And sometimes they’ll do reward challenges where if their team wins a certain competition, they get to eat pizza…or ice cream or something like that. 

And every once in a while, host Jeff Probst will give all of the contestants a spoonful…just a taste first. 

They can each have a tiny taste of ice cream. 

And you can see on their faces, just delight…and then…intense longing for more.  

Their faces are saying, “I HAVE to win that. I just have to!” 

This is often what God is doing in our suffering. 

You feel like giving up. 

But in that place. He meets you. 

You get this “taste of eternity,” and it gives you the jump start you need to keep going…to keep pressing on…to believe that God can pull you through.  

It’s hope…in suffering.  

It reminds me of the following story: 

There was a school system in a large city that once had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city’s hospitals. 

One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. 

She took the child’s name and room number and talked briefly with the child’s regular class teacher. 

The teacher told her that they were studying nouns and adverbs in his class and that she’d be grateful if the hospital teacher could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”

The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. 

No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. 

Distressed at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” 

When she left she felt she hadn’t accomplished much. 

But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” 

The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. 

“No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that young boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. 

“He’s fighting back, responding to treatment.

“It’s as if he’s decided to live.”

Two weeks later, when he had gotten much better, the boy himself explained that he had completely given up hope until the day the teacher arrived. 

He said that everything changed when he came to a simple realization.

He expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?....and so I had hope!” 

And when you feel like you’re in the darkness, and finally notice the light of God beginning to penetrate your dark room…let HOPE ARISE. 

God doesn’t come just to comfort the downhearted, but he comes to bring hope about your future…BECAUSE HE HAS A FUTURE FOR YOU!

When He’s there…He’s there with a purpose…He’s there because He has a plan for your life, and He wants to move you towards it. 

He’s there because He’s building perseverance, character, and hope! 

Let hope arise! 



THE TASTE OF ETERNITY KEEPS YOU GOING…FOR THE NEXT LIFE

And the Christian hope is so different than any other hope in this world. 

Yes, we hope in God for great things. 

But even if you find that the things you’ve been hoping for don’t end up being in God’s will, we still have hope… you can’t keep us down

Sure, you may knock us down for a moment, but we’ve had a “taste of eternity.”  

We know that heaven and our God are coming, so we’ll always get back up.  

Sure, the disappointments of this world might sometimes feel overwhelming, but you and I…we can remember that this world is a blink of an eye, and yet in that blink of an eye, we’ve tasted the reality of eternity. 

We know it’s real, we know we’re saved…we know that no matter what you throw at us, we’re getting back up because Jesus is coming for us!

And that’s the second kind of hope that Paul is writing about in the beginning of our passage for today.  

 (Romans 5:1-2) - NIV

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 

 “We boast in the hope of the glory of God!” 

What a verse! 

What does that mean?  

It means that even if life punches you in the throat, kicks you in the back of the knees, and knocks you down…

You look at it right in the face and say, “Can’t steal my hope!” 

Even if bank says you have no money left, you say, “can’t steal my hope” 

Even if your boss says, “We’re eliminating your position” 

“Can’t steal my hope”!

Even if the doctor tells you at age 32, “You have two months to live” 

You say, “Can’t steal my hope…I’ve tasted eternity!”  

See, our hope, unlike every other type of hope, is not ultimately, grounded in this life. 

It’s not grounded in riches, or success, or status, or notoriety, or health, or even long life. 

Because we’ve got hope in the longest of life. 

It’s called Eternal life! 

Our hope is in the glory of God. 

Our hope is spending eternity in the glorious presence of God. 

In perhaps the greatest defense ever written on the Resurrection, Paul writes the great chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, and in it, are multiple gems on hope. 

(1 Corinthians 15:17-19) - NIV

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Our Hope in God runs so much deeper than just asking Him to make our lives a bit more comfortable on our way to 6 feet under

Oh…our hope is in Him for this life, but our hope runs even deeper…to our ultimate Union with Him in heaven! 

And so, we can stand through the sufferings of this world because our hope is great & deep. 

(romans 8:18) – NIV

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 

It doesn’t matter what this world throws at us…we will not lose hope. 

Will we cry? 

Yes. 

Will we be in pain? 

Yes. 

Will it be hard? 

Incredibly hard sometimes. 

But can you steal our hope? 

NO, you can not.  

We’ve TASTED ETERNITY!

In that same chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes: 

(1 Corinthians 15:54-55) – NIV

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

We don’t even fear death…because our hope tells us that even death…brings to us the greatest of things.  

We’ve tasted eternity and eternity is coming.  


 

THE GOSPEL

But perhaps you’re sitting here today and thinking, “I don’t have that kind of hope.” 

Perhaps you’re not as sure about what will happen when you die.  

And what comes after this life. 

The now late pastor, D. James Kennedy once wrote the following on the topic of humanity wondering about life after death: 

“For many centuries the men and women in Europe looked out upon the western sea, what we call the Atlantic Ocean, and they saw the sun upon the glittering surface of the waters and they wondered. 

They wondered if there was anything beyond. 

Scholars said that you could sail off the edge of the world--there was nothing out there at all. 

In fact, the national motto of Spain was Ne Plus Ultra (Nay Ploos Ooltra), meaning, "There is nothing beyond."

One day Columbus went westering on the shiny waters. 

He sailed off into the sunset as people waited expectantly, and finally after a long time the sails reappeared and the crowds were exultant. They shouted with joy, and Columbus announced that there was a land beyond the sea that was rich beyond their dreams. 

It was a glorious paradise. 

The king of Spain changed the motto of that land to what it reads as today, Plus Ultra, meaning, "There is more beyond."

For many centuries innumerable people have stood beside the dark hole that we call a grave and watched the remains of their loved ones lowered into the earth, and they wondered: Beyond the dark waters of death, is there anything beyond?

Then one day, a young explorer named Jesus went into the setting sun and descended into the blackness of the pit. 

He sailed off the edge of the world and crashed into death…as people waited expectantly. 

Finally, on Easter morning, as the sun arose in the east, the Son of God stepped forth from a grave and declared, "There is something beyond. 

There is a paradise beyond your greatest expectations. 

And there awaits a heavenly Father, waiting with outstretched arms to wipe away every tear from your cheek." 

THAT…is the great hope. 

And the Bible taught us today (in what we’ve already read) how to reach that great place beyond our deaths…how to have that DEEP hope. 

(Romans 5:1-2) – NIV – LEAVE UP AND FIT ALL ON ONE SCREEN

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 

We can be justified (made right) by faith. 

The Bible teaches that if we believe (in faith) that Jesus Christ, God’s son, died on the cross for our sins, and we surrender our lives to Him…that we can be forgiven of everything we’ve ever done. 

It says in verse 2, we have “gained access by faith into this grace” 

Meaning, the grace of God…the forgiveness of God for everything you’ve ever done…is something you access by your faith in God’s rescue (sending Jesus for you)

You can’t earn it. 

It’s not a reward. 

It’s a gift. 

The only question is, do you want to open it? 

And if you’re here this morning, and you’ve never made this decision…you haven’t yet surrendered your life to Jesus…you can do it today. 

You can be forgiven today. 

And you can have HOPE! You can know, that without a doubt, that you (because you’re forgiven) will spend eternity in heaven with God. 

Because you’ll know that Jesus has already paid the punishment for your sin, and your sins have been completely forgiven. 

Who here needs that hope? Needs that life? That relationship with God? 

And if that’s you, and you’re ready to believe that Jesus died for you, to be forgiven, to turn your life over to Him today…I want to give you the opportunity to do that today. 

In fact, let’s just have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes as I want this to be a special moment between you and God. 

If that’s you…and you do want to tell God for the first time today that you believe He sent his son for you, and that you want to follow Him…in a minute…I’m actually going to ask you to respond by quietly standing up right where you are. 

It’s a symbolic way to say to God, “Here I am. I believe in faith. I believe you died for me. That this is how I can know you and know you forever   

This is how you can be forgiven, and have this incredible hope that you know God and will be with Him in heaven. 

NO ONE will be looking at you…no one (don’t even think about that!). This is about you and God.  

So wherever you are, if I’m talking to you.. and you’d like to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.

If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s talking to you. That means…it’s TIME. If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him. It’s amazing! 

If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?

It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.  

So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me

IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.  

So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.  

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.  

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.  

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.   


As everyone else still has their eyes closed, I want to talk to those of you who are standing for just a moment   

I need you to do one more thing for me. 

It will only take a few small minutes, but I believe these are a few of the most important minutes of your life.  

You’ve just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe in any scenario, that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do…In just a second, one of our leaders is going to come up and pray, but right before he does that, I need you to quietly sneak out of your row, and head towards the hallway where it will be quiet.   

I’m going to go out there with you…(w/ some members of our follow-up team), and we want to give you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.

I promise you’ll be able to sneak right back into the service & back into your seats in just a few moments. 

One of our House Leaders is going to come up here now and pray…

But for now, would you please had out there with me.  

Go ahead. We can all go together. 


Copyright: David Sorn

Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.